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Please Remember This Day

Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

Pay attention to how hard you’re preaching your political gospel today.

Observe how you have no fear of sounding preachy or pushy when you tell people it’s their responsibility to get out and vote.

What does that tell you?

It tells you that the fear of being disliked or misunderstood is powerless in the presence of someone with a strong enough conviction.

Most people would never walk up to a smoker and say “Stop smoking. It’s bad for you.”

Even if they’re actually thinking that to themselves, most people wouldn’t go there.

Suppose you have a friend who eats a lot of fast food, doesn’t exercise, and frequently opts for soda over water.

Would you feel comfortable telling your friend that it might be a good idea for them to rethink their eating habits? That they have a moral duty to do so? That they don’t have a right to complain about being sick or having low energy if they refuse to change?

Would you honestly say that kind of stuff? Is that how you challenge your friends? Is that how you challenge total strangers?

I know a few hardcore people like that, but most of us don’t like to be preachy. Most of us don’t like to be pushy. And even if we’re not actually being preachy and pushy, most of us don’t like to be perceived as such.

Enter election day and the fear miraculously falls away.

All of a sudden, everyone is using their social media platforms, the windows in their homes, their front yards, their cars, and everything else as advertising space for the one belief that they’re actually willing to take some heat for, to fight for, to argue for, to make other people uncomfortable for: the belief that everyone needs to get off their butt and go to the gym….I mean…go to the voting booth. Not the gym. That can wait. Go to the voting booth.

Well, here’s my challenge to you:

If you’re only willing to speak up, push back, and challenge others on an election day, then you’re treating your personal power (and your personal responsibility) as if it’s non-existent or unimportant outside the realm of politics. And that’s an insult to your own capacity for influence

There are many good and important non-political causes you can “vote” for every single day.

There are many good and important non-political action steps you can challenge your family and friends to take every single day.

If you can find the boldness to shamelessly declare “It’s your duty to get out and vote,” then surely you can find the boldness to shamelessly declare equally important suggestions on non-election days.

Here are a few examples to help you get started:

“It’s your duty to get out and exercise.”

“It’s your duty to make healthier eating choices.”

“It’s your duty to learn at least one new thing today.”

“It’s your duty to treat the people who have to work with you with empathy and respect.”

“It’s your duty to make time for the people you claim to love.”

“It’s your duty to stop talking about yourself with so much self-hate.”

“It’s your duty to stop buying more than you need or can afford.”

“It’s your duty to start thinking about your long-term financial game plan.”

“It’s your duty to start saying ‘no’ to more things.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

If you have a duty to vote for politicians, then don’t you have a duty to vote for your own potential?

If you have a duty to tell others that they have a duty to vote, then don’t you have a duty to tell others about their duty to step up their game?

If you’re afraid of being too preachy or pushy, I totally understand.

BUT…

If you can be preachy and pushy for politics, you can be preachy for the thousands of non-political causes that are within your power to support every single day of every single year.

Please remember this day….

but not because it’s an election day.

Remember this day because it will remind you of how courageous and influential you can be when you’ve found an idea that you can really get behind.

And once you remember that, you’re on your way to truly becoming an unstoppable force.

Find something else you can believe in besides politics and start representing it with the same vigor you bring to politics.

If You Have No Clue What to Do, Maybe Rushing into College Isn’t for You

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Don’t know what you want to do after finishing HS?

There ARE options besides rushing straight into college.

Since most college graduates take on some debt and since most college graduates take more than four years to get their bachelors degree anyway, why treat an expensive decision like college as if it’s something that you won’t have the opportunity to come back around to after one year of doing other constructive things that can lead to self-improvement and self-discovery?

Try a gap year program.

Try an apprenticeship.

Try working for a year.

Spend some time traveling for a year.

Do a couple of mission trips.

Get a part-time job and create a self-directed learning curriculum in your free time.

If college is something you really feel you need to do at the end of that process, it will still be there when you’re done. And with the combination of real-world experience and self-knowledge you’ll have acquired, you might be less likely to waste your time and money when you begin.

Do whatever you want, but don’t buy the lie that college is the only environment for people trying to figure out they want to do with their lives.

If you go to college, go because you genuinely love it and because you have a sense of direction regarding how you intend to use the experience for your own personal growth. Don’t go out of some fear-based belief that you’re going to become some kind of loser just because you’re going in a different direction than the majority.

That’s a bad reason for doing anything.

To hear my rant on why “college give you direction” is a bad argument, check out Episode 3 of my Tour of Bad Arguments below

If You Dream Big Things Only for Yourself, Your Dreaming Is Too Small

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

We’ve often heard it said that the way to a better world is a better self, but the reverse is also true.

The way to a better self is through the making of a better world.

Personal development can’t be separated from sociological development or systems development.

That is, it’s not possible to become your best self unless you’re facing up to the challenge of trying to contribute to someone or something other than yourself. Your best self is the one that brings out the best in the people and places that surround you.

Don’t confuse this with a high-sounding message about how you have a moral duty to make the world a better place.

Read it selfishly: Generosity isn’t the opposite of personal ambition. It’s the optimization of personal ambition.

If you only think about yourself, you’re not selfish enough.

The need to only think about yourself arises from a scarcity mindset that closes you off to your own possibilities for abundance.

If you want the best possible life for yourself, you’re likely to grow more and gain more when you look for excuses to make life better for people.

Options are like doors: when you open them for others, you open them for yourself.

 

You’re Not Educated until You Can Make People Better

The best way to produce wholly functional, wholly capable of enhancing life, people is to challenge them to take on real responsibilities that will help them realize how little their education matters if it can’t be translated into creating value and solving problems.

Cliche appeals to helping people become “good citizens” or “well-rounded people” or “lovers of knowledge” breeds nothing more than a spirit of entitled intellectual elitism when we artificially insulate students from the real-world pressure of having to demonstrate the relevance of what they know.

Knowledge is good, but you can’t expect other people to reward you and respect you for your knowledge if you aren’t willing to use your knowledge as a tool to serve them.

The purpose of being educated isn’t to make you feel better than other people. The purpose of being educated is to make yourself better at making other people better.

If You Want to Be Truthful, Build Something (or Someone)

 

There are two types of truths: unpleasant ones and pleasant ones.

When we think of truthful people, we typically think about those who aren’t afraid to tell us about the unpleasant things we need to hear. These are the “facts don’t care about your feelings” types.

But truthfulness also equals “here’s what’s right with my world and this is how I will build on that.”

It’s more than just “I’m bold enough to point out what isn’t working.”

You can’t possibly be a person who keeps it real and tells it like it is if you never express appreciation, hope, and creativity.

Fearless communication isn’t just about having the guts to say “you did a terrible job” or “we’re in a terrible place” or “you’re making a terrible argument.”

It’s also about having the guts to say “I’m grateful for what you’ve done well” or “I believe we can do better” or “I think we’ve found a common ground we can build upon.”

To be honest is to be constructive, not just critical. The courage to complain is not a substitute for the courage to create.

If you want to be truthful, believe in the possibility of a better world and start building it; believe in the possibility of better people and start building them.

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